Recently I have found myself intrigued by the topic of adolescent literacy. It could be due to my former life as a reading specialist, at a middle school for a year, why I am revisiting this topic. Either way the findings are always interesting. The following sites have been keeping me up to date:Doing What Works
- research-based education practices by the US Department of Education.AdLit.org
- national multimedia project offering information and resources on the topic.
I definitely did not have any formal training in the field of literacy other than a handful of workshops here and there offered by the county office. My experience found me somewhat bored by the direct instruction approach. Knowing this format would show results I still was not convinced this would increase my students’ readability of academic language.
I found using Tech4learning
software the hook I needed to get my students interested in wanting to do the mundane direct instruction approach. After all, motivation is a key factor when working with the middle school population. The first area of literacy I felt compelled to address was fluency. The program my district had adopted was Read Naturally
. This program in itself motivated my students, but Pixie
took it one step further.
After doing the required steps of the Read Naturally program I altered the final step by integrating Pixie
. Students would take their final passage of the lesson from that day and record it in Pixie
while accompanying it with an original illustration. The beauty of this was when administrators would walk in they would hear students using intonation and expression while reading. Not to mention a level of engagement they were not use to seeing in this type of class. A bonus to this practice was noticing students gain some comprehension skills by illustrating the passage. By years end the students walked away with a portfolio of their fluency passages and a reflection on how this process worked for them.